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Contracting officer, avid golfer earns Top Per-FORE-mer

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
A noncommissioned officer from the 36th Contracting Squadron earned the distinction of "Top Performer" for his on-duty performance and his golfing prowess. 

Staff Sgt. Matt Vilsack, 36th CONS contracting officer, was selected by Maj. Glen Basso, 36th CONS commander, after qualifying for the Asian Pacific Golf Team Championship in Seoul, Korea, Sept. 12-19 by finishing second in the Guam Amateur Golf Tournament in July. 

Sergeant Vilsack will team with his fellow top four finishers to try and capture the Nomura Cup. 

"I am very big on making sure [our Airmen] are representing the squadron well on and off duty, on and off base," Major Basso said. "Excellence in all we do is a core value, so if people are going to go participate in certain events, I want them to succeed. I am going to do everything I can to support [them] and want to see them do well. He's not just playing as Matt Vilsack - he's representing our entire squadron." 

Affectionately referred to as "Palmer" by his co-workers, Sergeant Vilsack brings the determination and standards of excellence he takes with him on the golf course to the mission at hand. 

Sergeant Vilsack didn't start his career in contracting. The Pittsburgh native joined the Air Force in February 2001 and spent roughly two years working in air traffic control before cross-training into contracting. He has been working in contracting for six and a half years. 

"For the most part, [my job] entails administering construction contracts and ensuring our contractors are in compliance with all rules and regulations set forth in the contracts," Sergeant Vilsack said. "I also award new contracts as they come along for construction projects." 

When it comes to authority to sign new contracts, Sergeant Vilsack holds a warrant that allows him to execute any new contracts worth less than $750,000. 

"For any contracting officer to obtain a warrant is a very big deal," Major Basso said. "Palmer's limit is pretty high considering he's a staff sergeant. The majority of staff sergeants don't have a warrant, and if they do, it's for a much smaller amount, typically around $25,000, $100,000 or $250,000. It's very rare for a staff to have up to $750,000. To put it into perspective, I didn't receive a warrant for $750,000 or higher until [I made] major." 

Sergeant Vilsack also has his sights on college and is only a year and a half away from earning a bachelor's degree in business management. In his spare time, he said he enjoys snorkeling and spending time barbecuing with friends. 

Whether he's on the golf course swinging a nine-iron or in the office signing, sealing and delivering a six-figure contract, Sergeant Vilsack's recognition as 'Top Performer' serves as a stepping stone in the continued path of a promising career.

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